Britain's 'best CEO' shares his advice for getting the most out of staff

GlassdoorSky Bet’s Richard Flint
  • Sky Bet CEO Richard Flint says that the key to success as a manager is creating an informal and collegiate environment.
  • This week, Flint was named the number one CEO in the UK, by job rating site Glassdoor.
  • In doing so, he beat out the likes of Microsoft boss Satya Nadella, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Management is an art form.

Many books have been written on the subject, and countless hours are spent by bosses all over the world perfecting the craft, but for Richard Flint, CEO of gambling firm Sky Betting & Gaming it’s a simple game.

Be nice, friendly, and approachable, Flint says, and you’ll get the best out of your employees every single time.

Flint’s advice may seem somewhat cliched, but it’s worth listening to – especially given that he has just been named the number one CEO in Britain, according to users of job rating site Glassdoor.

Flint beat out competition from the likes of Microsoft boss Satya Nadella, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to win the award, which unlike most management awards is decided anonymously by employees, meaning it’s a true reflection of how staff actually feel about their bosses.

“One of the things I learnt a few years ago, is that the most important thing is to be genuine, which means being yourself,” Flint told Business Insider.

Part of that, he added, is not paying too close attention to what others are doing.

“I’m mostly my own man. Obviously you learn from people you work with, and those that you have read about,” he said, adding that he tries not to spend “too much time and effort trying to emulate other people.”

While he doesn’t claim to subscribe to any particular school of management, Flint believes his style is that places informality at its heart.

“My management style is very informal and collegiate. I don’t really have a permanent desk, and I spend most of my time speaking to people informally. There’s a coffee shop near work, and I’m well known for spending most of my time in there.

“The best way to find out what’s really going on is to talk to people outside of the formal environment. In a formal meeting people always want to tell you everything is really good.

“But if talk to people informally, try to understand what challenges they face, and see what you can do to help in that, that’s a much more productive use of time.”

Flint has headed up Sky Bet for almost 12 years, but says that during the first couple of years of his tenure, he

“Quite often if you become a leader, or a manager, or a chief executive, there are a lot of expectations to know all the answers, and to make all the decisions, and to be something different to what you were before.

“The most important thing you can do is to not do that. You need to be humble about what you know,” he said.

Two key lessons he has learned, he told Business Insider, is to ensure that you don’t “dominate” internal discourse, and make sure to continuously ask staff what they think of decision making within the firm.

“I spent the first couple of years thinking I had to be someone who wasn’t really me. I’ve been much happier, and much more successful by being more myself,” he said.

Informality may be crucial, Flint said, but at the same time, a good manager cannot allow themself to be afraid to make big decisions, and to let employees know where and when they have gone wrong.

“You still have to make decisions, and sometimes tell people its not good enough, but you have to do that in a way that’s respectful to them, and in a way that’s private as much as possible.”

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